Worry taxi driver register was offline

Coun Colin Clark

Coun Colin Clark

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A scandal-hit council has quashed claims it blocked access to a public record of taxi drivers.

Questions were raised after South Ribble Council’s online public register of taxi drivers went down six weeks ago - as a taxi licensing scandal at the authority was raging.

Having only worked intermittently since then, taxi drivers complained it reflected poorly on the council, which has vowed to operate in an “open and transparent way”.

But council officers said the problem was an IT issue and was rectified as soon as they were notified.

One taxi driver, who asked not to be named, said: “For years you’ve been able to go on the council’s website and check the public register, but now it seems they’ve blocked it.

“As well as the public, taxi drivers like to keep check of new drivers. And if you had an issue with me on the road, you’d be able to look up my details - my name, what I’m allowed to drive and so on - by taking my licence number. But now we can’t access it. It’s been down a couple of months.

“It’s gone without warning. So it’s not very transparent is it? You wonder why it’s happened and what’s being covered up.”

Leader of the council, Coun Colin Clark said: “All licensing registers are available online and we would encourage anyone having difficulties viewing the files to contact us immediately. A hard copy of the registers is also available to view at the Civic Centre.

“We are determined to ensure that our licensing service is the very best it can be and have committed to investing in additional resources, including extra technology, to improve the way we operate.”

An investigation was launched into the licensing department after reports of two taxi drivers sexually exploiting children. It concluded there were sadegurading problems and concerns drivers were being given licenses without correct documentation.